According to the Continence Foundation of Australia, more than 6 million people suffer from one form of incontinence in Australia
If incontinence is frequent or is affecting your quality of life, it's important to seek an assessment as it could indicate a more serious underlying condition causing you to restrict your activities and limit your social interactions
With incontinence there is a/an:
- Increase the risk of falls in older adults as they rush to the toilet
- Enormous impact on an older person’s quality of life. It adds a significant burden on family and carers and is a major factor in deciding to go into residential care.
- Increased risk of health issues skin degradation leading to pressure injuries.
- Financial implication due to the cost of continence aids. It can affect a person’s general wellbeing and make them socially isolated due to embarrassment.
As a person ages, their bladder and bowel changes, which affects their function. Bladder changes include :
- The elastic tissue of the bladder wall becomes tough and less stretchy and unable to hold as much urine
- The weakening of the bladder muscles
- Increases in involuntary bladder contractions
- Urethral blockage.
What causes an urethral blockage?
- In women, this can be due to weakened muscles causing the bladder or vagina to prolapse
- In men, this can be due to an enlarged prostate gland
- Increases in post-voiding residual volume (50–100 mL)
- Increases in fluid excretion at night.
Bowel changes include:
- Sphincter weakness (for example, due to childbirth stretch injury)
- Loss of anal sensation
- Impairment of gastrocolic reflex
- Softening of stools.